Amazonication – One Store to Rule Them All

Amazonication — One Store to Rule Them All

Yeah, it’s Saturday!  The weekend’s finally arrived!  At least that’s what the pre-corona me used to say.  Now the weekend is just like the week except for the work part.  There is no dinner with friends, no movie at the local cinema, no walking along a beautiful wooded trail — well, that’s because it’s always raining, as if we moved to Seattle or something — no shopping to speak of unless it’s for essentials and frankly, I’m a little nervous that all this staying at home to flatten the curve is also flattening my creativity with my writing at an abysmal all-time low.

There is one thing I have become extremely good:  shopping on Amazon.

Be honest.  How many Amazon deliveries have you gotten since the beginning of the Covid-19 quarantine?  Two dozen? Three dozen?  Several million?

Look, I’m not proud of it.  It’s been hard for us and there’s a lot going on, trying to fill in the gaps with things the grocery store doesn’t have or items that we can’t run around looking for because we are sheltering-in-place, and face it, we’re exhausted even though we aren’t going anywhere or more likely because of it.

It looks like there’s a year’s worth of packaging in my garage right now, but really it’s only about two weeks worth.  My son is doing an internship with Americorps in Idaho at the end of the semester so we’ve been ordering things like a new sleeping bag and tent, boots and all-weather gear, but even without those contributions, there’s a lot of packaging on the garage floor.  The one bright spot is that of the four things Lancaster still recycles — glass, aluminum, plastic bottles (with necks only) and cardboard — at least these boxes make the cut.  If you’re wondering why they are strewn all about, well, that’s because we’ve been too lackadaisical to break down the boxes and put them into the recycling bin, another side effect of quarantining — downright laziness.

But other than a messy garage, why is shopping with Amazon such a bad thing?  Well, for starters, Jeff Bezos is richest man in the world, not a bad thing, yeah for him, he achieved his childhood dream, or something like that, and I applaud his ingenuity and drive.  Somebody’s got to hold that moniker, right?  Yet, what did the richest guy in the world say when asked about sick leave for Amazon drivers who contracted Covid-19 during a global pandemic where his company stands to rake in more money than ever before — drivers who are out risking their health, BTDubs, to bring us our packages?  He wanted people to donate sick leave to support them; he didn’t want to reach in his own pocket.

For a company that made over $11 billion in profits last year and did $280 billion worth of business, I’d say that’s a little bit love-of-moneyish, wouldn’t you agree, or to put it in blunter terms, downright greedy?

It is the love of money, not money itself that is the root of all evil.  Money is simply a means of exchange.  So when did it get so gosh darn blown out of proportion?  If I had the answer to that, maybe we could fix a few things around here like health care and boosting people out of poverty, but the truth is, I have no idea why although I think it has something to do with feeling unsafe in the world.  Let’s face it.  Fear is a powerful motivator and things are moving at a fast clip.  Money insulates you from a lot of life’s vicissitudes.  Not everything, mind you, but many things, and if you’ve got it, you don’t have to worry about feeding your family or keeping a roof over your head, or having access to clean, safe water, luxuries that many of us in the developed world take for granted.

[The Greek meander key representative of our meandering through life.]

To be fair, Bezos did say he’d give two weeks of sick leave to any Amazon employee who contracted Covid-19, but the Amazon drivers, those men and women coming into contact with the public — or at least the public’s front porches — all day long, sometimes up to 12 and 14 hours a day, are not considered Amazon employees, but contractors and, therefore, not eligible for employee benefits.  It’s not unusual.  I work for the feds, and it’s the same deal there — contractors don’t get the benefits that employees do, but we don’t make a profit, our budgets are allocated by Congress, and we operate on an entirely different level than a Fortune 500 company that recently cracked into the top five highest grossing companies in the world.  Usually contractors benefits are covered by their employer, yet Amazon contractors seem to be a scattershot of companies with very little oversight which looks to me to be very much by design.

Similarly, when Bernie Sanders pressured Amazon to raise the minimum wage for its workers to $15, Bezos bent, but did so disingenuously, passing the costs along to employees by eliminating their bonuses as well as Amazon’s stock unit program which paid some portion of employees salaries in stock.

The question is, why?  Is Bezos a modern day Scrooge?  He didn’t even pay taxes in 2018, why does he need all this money, or more to the point, why can’t he pay people what they are worth?  The drivers delivering his packages are making him tons of moola.  Can he give a little back so their health and well-being are safe-guarded?  Is he hoarding?  Saving for a rainy day?  Isn’t that the kind of thinking that got us all into this mess in the first place with our planet cratering under the pressure of take, take, take, me, me, me, while we slash and burn, destroying natural resources so we can make cheap plastic crap, and there most certainly is not enough to go around so I better take what I can get now?

Then there’s Amazon’s carbon footprint — 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018.  Not the worst out there, but certainly not the best, especially when the retail giant is expected to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever.  To their credit, Amazon is shooting to be carbon neutral by 2024.  Now if they can just get that salary and health benefits thing worked out.

Look, I love Amazon and as you can see, I buy a lot from them, but couldn’t they be, IDK, a little nicer?  Costco, one of my favorite retailers, pays its people well; Costco shares and shares, and the company is thriving.  Is it really that important to be the richest guy in the world if no one likes you?

You can do better, Amazon.  So can we all.

pam lazos 4.18.20

 

 

About Pam Lazos

writer, blogger, environmentally hopeful
This entry was posted in living wage, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Amazonication – One Store to Rule Them All

  1. ritu thakre says:

    Nice!
    i really like your thought. I agree that Bezos could and should be a better boss. your post is very informative.

    thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sure someone else here asked, but did you see the Frontline documentary on Bezos? Your post here’s got me itching to watch it–it’s on the Frontline sight now. Hmmm, maybe that’ll be my way to start the week…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pam Lazos says:

      I didn’t know there was one. Thanks, Jean. I’ll check it out. I love those Frontline episodes. The one on plastics — I think it’s called Plastic Wars — was great.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I caught that one! Yes, Frontline’s great–the political ones have been insightful, and I loved their investigation into teacher pensions. makes me wonder how things will be handled, especially now.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Schaub says:

    I agree with you Pam – I love Amazon for the convenience and the price, but a billionaire with miserly ways (not to mention his personal life) leaves me shaking my head. What kind of mentality says “the more you have, the more you want.” I’m glad I’m common folk sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. hilarymb says:

    Hi Pam – I think I ordered one book … but do try not to buy from ‘him’. I see he’s just bought another apartment in NYC for some small (for him) fortune (for lots of peoples!)… millions – yet Gates, Dorsey are putting their monies to good use … philanthropy needs to return to the headlines. Lots of small peoples helping others … take care – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      Yes, Hilary, people helping people. You mention Bill Gates. For years, everyone thought was the monster in the closet but looked how that turned out. The Gates Foundation is doing fabulous work!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cath says:

    What a tight ****. Thanks for the detail. I knew he was rich, and his company had some dodgy policies, but I hadn’t realised just how mean he is. I shall vote with my feet, and take my meager custom elsewhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pam Lazos says:

      You know, Cath, I don’t mean to beat up on just him, but the system in general. If it’s all about the corporate bottom line and nothing else then the shareholders win, yes, but the employees, the customers, and the environment lose every time. It’s time for a more socially just form of capitalism if we want to make it out if this century in better shape than we went in. 🥰

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Resa says:

    I have been boycotting Amazon for almost 5 years. Amazon sucks, big time. You think you can’t do without it? YOU CAN! I am. There are many options in todays E-World.
    People can squawk all they want. Only a massive punch in Amazon’s pockets will make any difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Susan Scott says:

    I remember the first lines of John Galt when he seized the airwaves, Money is not the root of all evil, the love of it is. Atlas Shrugged.
    If he pays his workers poorly, then he is a scrooge.
    Anyway, I reckon it’s so important to support local small business when we can.
    Hope your weekend’s been good Pam … am also in lazy mode but I reckon that while the world is in pause mode, it’s good to get with the program and be in pause mode too 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Kathe W. says:

    hmmm methinks I should try harder to order from the actual providers/makers. Thanks for pointing out this greedy guy.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ally Bean says:

    We must be the outliers when it comes to ordering on Amazon. We’ve had one shipment this year and it was for a new rubber collar for our disposal in the kitchen sink. Lowes and Home Depot don’t stock the size and brand we need. We spent a whopping $9 so we may not be helping Mr. Bezos in his attempt to take over the world. Not sad about that as the guy creeps me out like all greedy people do.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. TanGental says:

    That was thought provoking
    Yes some generosity wouldnt go amiss right now.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well, it ain’t because Bezos feels unsafe in the world that he’s hoarding the greens. I’m going to send you a link that enables you find bargains over Amazon. This is a heads-up in case it lands in Spam.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I like ordering from Amazon too, but I agree that Bezos could and should be a better boss. But it’s times like these that show who we really are. He seems greedy to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sistah… it’s horses for courses right now. And yeah, some stable owners sure could do better. As you say we all can xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Bezos needs to re-think things. Reading your article would be a good place for him to start.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I continue to avoid buying from Amazon, but I can’t say the same for my sons. Sadly, in this pandemic of self-isolation, his business is booming and, with it, his power to treat his human workers like robots.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I try not to buy from Amazon, but have had to place two orders—for necessities we couldn’t obtain elsewhere—in the 5 weeks we’ve been in isolation. When this is over, we will all have a choice of continuing to support a company that doesn’t support its employees or its communities, or perhaps paying a little more to shop locally and support our own communities. I hope I will opt for the latter. Our local small businesses are going to need us more than ever.
    BTW, here in Seattle, the sun has been shining and temps have reached 70˚. Rain? What’s that?

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Patti says:

    Good read, so far I have only ordered from Chewy, and they are behind in shipping.
    Be well Pam, and fam. We will see you all very soon. Perhaps I’ll mail you a picture of us, only kidding. I don’t have any small boxes!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Jeff Bezos and others like him have way more money than they could possibly spend. What good is it to them? For the life of me, I can’t get into their heads. It must be a game to them, like playing Monopoly. They might enjoy their money if they gave some of it away to others who are not so fortunate.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. KDKH says:

    I’ve been moving most of my on-line purchases away from Amazon over the last month or so. Some of it is price awareness (lots of outrageous increases on Amazon just short of gouging) but a lot of it is to keep my other favorite businesses going. I don’t worry about Amazon, but I am concerned about some of the others.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Nadine says:

    Love reading your thoughts, Pam. Well rounded, unboxed, and fighting for the underdog. :)) xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

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